Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

NEW: Get 25,000 bonus Avios with the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

In March 2022, Barclays launched two brand new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard credit cards.

These cards should fundamentally change your Avios collecting strategy if you are based in the UK.

The benefits are very impressive. The Barclaycard Avios Mastercards are, easily, the most rewarding non-Amex travel credit cards on the market. They are arguably the most valuable Visa or Mastercard credit cards in the UK of any sort.

In this article we run through the two cards to help you decide which one is best for you. You can learn more about the two cards on the Barclaycard site here.

Barclaycard Avios

The application page for Barclaycard Avios Plus credit card (25,000 Avios bonus) is here.

The application page for the free Barclaycard Avios credit card (5,000 Avios bonus) is here.

Irrespective of what Visa or Mastercard you are currently using alongside your BA Amex card, you should find that these two new cards are better.

I think the cards offer you more than the Virgin Atlantic Reward credit cards, and those were already head and shoulders (in my view) above all other UK Visa and Mastercard products.

Unfortunately, existing Barclaycard holders – which includes the old Hilton Honors card – cannot apply as you are restricted to one Barclaycard credit card at a time. Some cardholders are being targetted with a switching bonus via the Barclaycard app if you want to give up your existing product. If you choose to cancel your existing card you will need to wait six months before making a fresh application.

There are TWO Barclaycard Avios credit cards

I have summarised the two cards below and there are links at the bottom of this page to three more in-depth articles.

The bottom line, however, is that I recommend getting the paid card because of the big 25,000 Avios sign-up bonus. You can always trade down to the free card later.

Let’s summarise the two Barclaycard Avios credit cards:

Barclaycard Avios card

The free card: Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

Note that the card has a representative APR of 23.9% variable.

The benefits are:

  • No annual fee
  • A sign-up bonus for new Barclaycard customers of 5,000 Avios if you spend £1,000 in three months
  • You earn 1 Avios per £1 spent
  • You earn a British Airways cabin upgrade voucher if you spend £20,000 in a card year
  • Whilst not travel related, you also get up to five months of Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+ and Apple Arcade for free

You can apply here.

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

The paid card: Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Note that the card has a representative APR of 72.4% variable based on a £20 monthly fee and an illustrative £1,200 credit limit. The APR on purchases is 23.9% variable.

The benefits are:

  • A £20 per month fee (reduced to £15 for customers who hold Barclays Avios Rewards via a Barclays Premier current account)
  • A sign-up bonus for new Barclaycard customers of 25,000 Avios if you spend £3,000 in three months
  • You earn 1.5 Avios per £1 spent
  • You earn a British Airways cabin upgrade voucher if you spend £10,000 in a card year
  • You receive Mastercard World Elite privileges
  • Whilst not travel related, you also get up to five months of Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+ and Apple Arcade for free

You can apply here.

Note that the fee is paid monthly and you can downgrade to the free card via the Barclaycard app at any point.

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard credit card


The launch of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards is arguably a game changer:

An earnings rate which blows all other Visa or Mastercard products out of the water:

You honestly couldn’t ask for more from a non-Amex credit card. The earning rate of 1 Avios per £1 (free card) or 1.5 Avios per £1 (fee card) blows all of the competition out of the water. If you value an Avios at 1p, which we do in our articles, then you’d be getting an effective 1% to 1.5% return on your spending. This is 400%-500% more than your typical cashback Visa or Mastercard.

An annual BA upgrade voucher if you hit your spending target:

On top of an outstanding earn rate, you can earn a valuable annual cabin upgrade voucher for an Avios reward flight booking on British Airways. You can learn more about the Barclaycard Avios upgrade voucher in this article but it can easily save you 50,000+ Avios on a typical redemption.

A big sign-up bonus which most HfP readers will qualify for:

You also pick up a substantial sign-up bonus. Subject to the small print, you can get 5,000 Avios on the free card (spend £1,000 in three months) and 25,000 Avios on the paid card (spend £3,000 in three months).

My personal view – and what I will be doing for myself and my wife – is to apply for the £20 per month Barclaycard Avios Plus credit card. This gets us:

  • the 25,000 Avios bonus for spending £3,000 in three months
  • the higher earning rate and
  • the reduced £10,000 target for earning a cabin upgrade voucher

Once I’ve earned the bonus and the voucher we will reassess, based on how we feel about our BA Amex cards at that point. Because the £20 fee is paid monthly, we can downgrade at any time via the Barclays app.

Want to know more about the cards?

We have published three additional articles on the new Barclaycard Avios credit cards which can help you decide which one to get:

The official Barclaycard website comparing both cards is here.

How to apply

You can apply for the free Barclaycard Avios credit card (5,000 Avios bonus) here.

You can apply for the Barclaycard Avios Plus credit card (25,000 Avios bonus) here.

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibly to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.

Comments (279)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • LS says:

    Although an excellent product on paper, the comments/forums are awash with evidence the implementation of this card has just been poor. It is sad therefore to have to scroll down 4 articles on the card without mention of this. Please ensure all aspects of the card are covered.
    The biggest issues so far is it looks like you can’t, in fact, downgrade: the app doesn’t offer alternative cards. But applications, delays, poor CS, and declining for having premier account number in there, and nothing for existing unrelated BC holders are all contributing.

    • Grimz says:

      Its been well advertised but nothing much said on the issues that this card has encountered.

    • Jonathan says:

      Customer service is shocking . The App is hopeless giving zero information re any Avios , just showing as fault AV006 . Barclays were very quick in charging the £20 monthly fee but have done nothing in getting the App in a working order .All in all I’m sorry I have this card .

  • Mark Phillips says:

    How long are the upgrade vouchers valid for? Is it the same for both cards? Is it book by expiry date, or travel by expiry date?

    • Gary says:

      2 years, voucher is the same for both, expiry is the outbound travel by date.

  • ColinThames says:

    Tried applying yesterday and got declined, despite having been okayed by their eligibility checker a week ago and being a Premier member.
    Not impressed by Barclaycard.

  • Just Nick says:

    Slightly lateral question. Have successful applicants had the links sent to them yet for the free Apple services that the card offers. This includes 5 months of free Apple music, TV and fitness etc.

  • lpgm says:

    Despite being declined by the eligibility checker last week, I got accepted yesterday, when I did the proper application.

    • Rob says:

      …. which is why we generally advise against using such checkers unless you are concerned about a mark on your credit report (which, unless you want a loan or mortgage in the next 3 months, is of no concern to you anyway).

      • lpgm says:

        Got you. To be clear, I did change several things in the proper application. It’s difficult for me because I’m a very early ‘retiree’. I’m also a ‘homemaker’…

  • Michael says:

    How does Avios plus card compare to the paid HSBC World Premier elite card as the primary non-Amex spending card when paired with the BA Premium Plus Amex?

    We gave up the platinum amex during the pandemic, so the travel insurance and lounge access with the HSBC card are quite valuable, but I suspect the Barclays upgrade voucher could easily offset that in cash terms if used correctly and the earning rate seems better. Views?

    • Rob says:

      The travel insurance is NOT with the HSBC card, it is with Premier. You are insured even if you have zero HSBC credit cards.

      You can therefore get Plus as your credit card and have the best of both worlds – HSBC insurance plus the higher Avios earn rate and the upgrade voucher.

      • Michael says:

        Thanks, Rob. I forgot it was on the bank account. I guess we can consider a complete swap of HSBC credit for Barclaycard.

        • Jacob says:

          I was considering it too, but came to the conclusion I would be worse off in the overall value. No lounge access with Barclaycard and doing quite a lot of flights with American Airlines and Lufthansa recenlty, I get free wifi on these flights thanks to HSBC, so I’m not replacing HSBC.

  • Elt164 says:

    When do you get the extra 5000 avios for hip applicants?
    (It is not dependant on making the target )

    • Rob says:

      The small print says 60 days but I know this is very much a backstop and it should be faster. It won’t be next week though.

      • Elt164 says:

        Thanks. I am still not confident I will get this as b.card agents seem to know nothing abt it.
        I don’t think I clicked away during application, I applied v. early.
        Is there any way to be sure?

        • David says:

          Did you save a copy of your agreement?
          If you did, Rob should be mentioned in there?

        • Rob says:

          You’re fine. We’ll sort it out for you if there are any issues.

  • Rachel says:

    I applied a week ago and have heard nothing, how long are people finding the response takes to confirm approved….or not?

    • Rhys says:

      I applied a week ago and heard nothing, then checked my Barclays current account app and saw the card there! Still haven’t received anything in the post though.

      • RT says:

        Same here, it’s in my app with the default £200 credit limit. It got confusing as got 2 separate e-mails to supply more earnings information, mentioning 2 different “card ending in xxxx” references. Hopefully that changes soon!

    • Steve says:

      After a couple of days I received an email (my first and only email at that point) asking me to upload proof of my income, which I did immediately. And then yesterday I got another email saying I hadn’t done it yet… so I did it again. I’m not sure if it’s not logging the uploads (I took screenshots confirming it had been done) or whether it’s just an email glitch. I haven’t received any other emails yet.

      • RT says:

        Your e-mail should mention your (new) card number ending in 4 numbers. Are those two numbers different in the 2 e-mails? Mine were which was odd. I submitted the info on both though. The very last e-mails numbers are the ones appearing in my Barclays app.

        • Steve says:

          Yep, good spot – they are different on each!

          • RT says:

            The 2nd one seemed to take. That appeared in my Barclays app yesterday with the £200 limit (and a £20 fee taken out!), the first number didn’t seem to come to anything, might be a glitch?
            Then today I got my credit limit increased. So just awaiting the actual card now.

      • Pat says:

        I had the same Steve. Nothing acknowledging the application but just reminders to upload my proof of income even though I had already uploaded them. I’ve uploaded for the 3rd time today.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.